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Calorie Count Blog

Hot Summer Picnics

By +Janice D'Agostino on Jul 01, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

“We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics.” – Bill Vaughan, journalist

Wiping the rivulets of sweat dripping down my face and neck, I remembered why eating outside is not something that I like to do when temperatures reach 100 plus degrees Fahrenheit and beyond. When I bit into a chunk of cold juicy watermelon, I decided this eating outside with the bugs idea was not completely bad, although a broad brimmed hat, a larger shade tree, bug repellent that actually works, and a spray bottle filled with cold water would surely help my increasingly wilted attitude.

Some people just love gathering up a variety of food and friends and heading outside for a meal - no matter what the temperature. I find myself nodding in agreement with Agatha Christie’s brilliant Hercule Poriot who once noted that “the great outdoors belongs outside.” Outdoors where the wild things, heat, excessive humidity, and all uncomfortable things belong. Obviously, I am not the happiest of campers when my nature loving friends suggest a picnic in the Great Outdoors - unless, in addition to stellar company, the food is invitingly cool and easy to prepare. Not one to miss out on any gathering that centers on food, I knew I would just have to figure out how to make the picnic more delicious!

Boring lunch-meat sandwiches, a hot grill, suspicious things made with mayo, and greasy salty chips do not make me want to brave the heat, no matter how stellar the company. As I am a worry wart - and I admit in hope of finding a most excellent reason to not eat outside - I googled foods that pose picnic peril and landed at where the great people that know all kinds of interesting things wrote this excellent article on heat and food. Before you head out to that mid-summer family gathering, give it a read.

Rules on avoiding summer picnic inspired illness in hand, it was time to assemble a list of ideas so I'll be ready the next time a friend suggests dining al fresco, you know it won't be me making the suggestion. I believe I’ll take one of these wonderful dishes and one of those little fans that spray you with cool water.

Caprese Skewers at The CC Palate are a fun hands on way to eat this traditional Italian salad - maybe you can get your kids to eat more salad if you serve it on a stick!

This Vegetarian Pressed Sandwich can be made the day before or on the morning of the picnic, the bread is actually improved by sitting with the filling!

Roast Beef and Brie with Horseradish Mustard Sandwich is simple and delicious - certainly not the usual bologna! Make ahead of time, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep chilled until you leave for the park or gathering. Make your own horseradish mustard for this sandwich using’s great recipe!

Sharpshootinstar’s Grilled Hawaiian Steak, is a fantastic meal for a large family and is so quick to cook even the person handling the grill won't have time to get too hot, just get in line to get some before it all disappears.

Feed a crowd with Claire’s Four Bean Salad, it's delicious, cool, simple to make, and can be found at The CC Palate.

Lemon Veggie Pasta Salad, is a refreshing lemony twist on this traditional picnic side dish.

Calorie Count member Suly sent me this delicious recipe for Mandarin Spinach Salad, it's a snap to personalize to your tastes! Find it at The CC Palate!

With the help of all of our Calorie Count friends, your picnic will be delicious! Just keep your meal simple, invite a lot of good friends, enjoy your picnic, and then go back inside and cool off. It’s getting ridiculously hot out there.

Your thoughts…

What is your favorite food to take to a picnic? Is it too hot to eat outside where you live? Have you ever had an indoor picnic? Everyone makes a version of Pasta Salad – what’s your favorite recipe? Do you make a dessert or buy (or grow) a delicious cold watermelon? Have you ever found a bug repellent that worked? This article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.


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I love picnics. I tend to make a bento picnic (Bento is a Japanese style lunchbox) but I usually pack it with foods that are easy to eat with your hands and easy to share like baby carrots, celery sticks, hummus, crackers, cheese, rolled lunch meat, chicken wings, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and other berries, cut fruit like watermelon and pineapple (add little food picks for easy and clean eating). I also like to bring cookies as dessert (because fruit can be both part of the meal and part of the dessert).

I also love a plowman type picnic lunch, with crusty bread, cheese, and meat, as well as some fruit like apples that would go well with the other ingredients. You don't really need to worry about this lunch as much, but I suggest packing the cheese and the meat in a cooler (although if you aren't going too far and it's not hot outside, there shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as you have a very hard cheese and a meat like salami. (this picnic is best in the Fall season because of the types of foods eaten, and the cooler weather)

Really?  This is the article that you choose to send us the Friday before 4th of July?  A whiner who doesn't like picnics and bbqs?  

Don't bother coming to my bbqs!

Sheesh, what's with the aggro?  It's a picnic post, have fun with it! 

Anyway, I am soooo going to try that lemon pasta that sounds awesome.

Yay for bean salads! Laughing

Original Post by: kmwilliams5

Really?  This is the article that you choose to send us the Friday before 4th of July?  A whiner who doesn't like picnics and bbqs?  

Don't bother coming to my bbqs!

I think she meant to be humorous, not whiny. I, for one, was amused.

And did you look at the recipe links? They're fantastic! For those of us who are watching our weight, it's important to have some options on a day when one typically tends to overeat unhealthy food.

Right now in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA it is 77 degrees and sunny.  Awww yeah, it's going to be a great weekend of BBQ and beach! :)

And hopefully the state doesn't burn down due to the extreme fire danger....  Set off your illegal fireworks on the beach, people.  Not in the woods!  Lets try not to burn anything down!

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77 degrees!!!! Lucky you! It was 104 here the other day. Have a wonderful time!

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i live in texas where picnics can be dreadful.  i always fear the foods with mayonaise.  the fresh ideas are great.  thanks.

LOL! that's where I live! Hope you enjoy the recipes.

I'm going nuts to try the veggie sandwich now!  Holy mother of all things yum!

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